Where: 10368 Critzer Shop Road, Afton, VA
Tasting Fee: $5 for a variety of wine and vermouth
Don’t Miss The: Vermouth, Cab Franc, Rosé
Food: No food available, but feel free to bring outside food
The Afton area cluster of wineries might just be my favorite in the state of Virginia. There are so many choices for truly great wine and I have yet to find a winery in the area that’s a bummer. I’ll have a full travel guide to the area soon, (along with my New Zealand guides–they’re coming, I promise!) but in the meantime wanted to highlight a few of my favorite spots. First up is Flying Fox, where you can get a Bordeaux blended vermouth and feel super hip all at once.
“Foxes are sexy dogs.” —Emily Barker, 2020
That’s right, my friend was immediately taken with Flying Fox’s new mural, which some might even go so far as to call “sexy.” The space as a whole is pretty gorgeous, which is even more impressive when you realize that it used to be a carpet factory. Apparently, carpets had to be climate regulated, so their building has the perfect storage for a future champagne cave. In the meantime though, you have plenty of wines and Flying Fox’s signature vermouth to tide you over.
This was actually our second visit to Flying Fox, along with our second tasting with Nate S, who is not to be confused with the other Nate on staff. Just like our previous trip, we found the tasting to be fun and informative. However, there must be something in their newer vintages. Last trip I found the wines to be good. This time, I thought they were great. They share a winemaker with Veritas right down the road, but in my opinion, are starting to set themselves apart in a very big way.
I ended up purchasing a 2018 rosé that’s an 80/20 Cab Franc/Merlot blend. Dry with strawberry and yogurt flavors, it’s going to be one of the first things I reach for this spring. I wish I bought their 2016 Cab Franc as well. Aged for 18 months in American oak, it had the slightest bit of pepper and minerality to set it apart as one of my weekend favorites.
Let’s just get to it, though. It’s time to talk about the biggest and brightest star of this Flying Fox show–their vermouth. Vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with botanicals. You’ll find it in such classic cocktails as your Negronis, Martinis, and Manhattans. While you’re not normally going to drink vermouth straight, I was tempted to pour myself a full glass of Flying Fox’s offerings. Their summer blend radiates peaches, while the fall blend is full of turmeric and ginger. However, I left with a bottle of their winter edition–a Bordeaux blend styled vermouth with plenty of cinnamon spice. I can’t wait to mix myself a foxtail with this baby.
Flying Fox doesn’t have the scenic views or outdoor patios of its neighbors, but it does have a pretty fabulous staff, amazing and innovative wines, and a killer designed space. Shake up your typically winery itinerary and pay them a visit. They’re well worth your time and you’ll learn why foxes are indeed, sexy dogs.